Iqra Shahzad

BSc (Hons), MSc

  • Doctoral Researcher


Iqra has a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from the University of Hull and an MSc in Organisational Psychology from the University of Leeds. Her Masters dissertation investigated crowd disasters from a socio-technical systems thinking perspective, and has therefore led to an interest in systems engineering and soft systems methodology.

Iqra joined the Wolfson School for Mechanical, Manufacturing, and Electrical Engineering as a PhD student in January 2019 and her research is sponsored by The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).


Title of thesis: Digital-first Primary Care: A Realist Evaluation using Soft Systems Methodology

The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK is a highly complex organisation. It currently faces a number of challenges, especially since most trusts, practices, and local regions have different processes and ways of operating. Digital transformation in the NHS is becoming increasingly pivotal; however, implementation throughout this large organisation comes with its challenges as past failed IT projects have demonstrated.

Realist evaluation is increasingly being used to evaluate programmes in healthcare systems around the world. The current research is hoping to contribute to this knowledge base by evaluating the digital-first policy introduced into the NHS. Taking a systems approach to this research is also crucial given the complex nature of the NHS.

As systems approaches can complement realist thinking (as both emphasise the need to engage stakeholders and explore how complex programmes really work), this research has the potential to progress our understanding of complex systems, and to develop recommendations for improvement.